The five-week trial for a former Virginia Beach investment group executive accused of defrauding clients out of more than $20 million wrapped up Tuesday with closing arguments.
The trial for Daryl G. Bank, 51, the former managing partner of Dominion Investment Group who faces multiple fraud, conspiracy and money laundering charges will go to a jury later this week.
Billy Seabolt, an attorney who worked with Bank, also faces several fraud and conspiracy charges.
The trial will be on break Wednesday but will resume Thursday in U.S. District Court in Norfolk with jury instructions. The panel will then be sent out to deliberate.
About 45 witnesses testified for the prosecution, with around half of them being former investors. Bank and Seabolt testified in their own defense.
Prosecutors alleged that Bank created and ran a nationwide fraudulent investment scheme, initially based in Virginia Beach and later Florida, that deceived hundreds of unsuspecting clients by convincing them to invest in companies owned and controlled by Bank.
Most of the investors were unsophisticated people at or near retirement age, according to prosecutors. And most lost all — or the majority of — their retirement savings. One woman, now 92, lost more than $900,000.
“This is a case of fraud driven by greed,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa O’Boyle said in her closing argument. “And Mr. Bank was the architect of this scheme. ... This was his conspiracy from start to finish.”
Bank and his team created numerous shell companies and laundered investment funds through multiple accounts, according to prosecutors.
Two former employees of Bank’s — Raeann Gibson and Roger Hudspeth — have already pleaded guilty and been sentenced to prison. Gibson got 10 years and Hudspeth received 12.
Bank typically took anywhere from 20% to 70% of the money investors gave him, which he then used to fund the criminal enterprise and as well as a lavish lifestyle, O’Boyle said.
American Express bills for Bank entered into evidence showed tens of thousands of dollars in purchases made by him and his wife each month. Some bills totaled more than $100,000.
Among the purchases highlighted by prosecutors was $58,000 spent on a five-carat diamond ring for Bank’s wife, $25,000 spent on a Belgian Malinois dog, watches that cost as much as $35,000, and a $350 shoe horn.
Defense attorney James Broccoletti, who represents Bank, said the fact that Bank and his wife invested their own money in the companies showed they believed in them. There was no evidence of any attempt by Bank or his team to hide or alter information, and they complied with all subpoenas, he said.
“That’s because they didn’t believe they had done anything wrong,” Broccoletti said. “They had a business plan. It wasn’t a fraud. The businesses were real.”
Seabolt’s attorney, Emily Munn, said her client was not a criminal, but simply a “strip mall lawyer” in over his head.
“Was he a lawyer out of his depth? In water over his head? Maybe,” Munn said. “But that’s not illegal.”
Jane Harper, 757-222-5097, email@example.com